First Published: 2009-01-18

Barrage of fire in Gaza, online intifada in Saudi

Hundreds of thousands of Saudis take to blogs to express their anger at Israeli holocaust in Gaza.


Middle East Online

By Habib Trabelsi - PARIS

'Online Jihad'

The Israeli flag in flames, hundreds of thousands of signatures, thousands of films, posters, photos and cartoons to denounce the "holocaust" in Gaza: Saudi Arabia, red lines are crossed ... on the Web.

Thousands of "jihadists" in the "electronic street"

Since the polices dispersal of a demonstration in support for Palestinians in Gaza with rubber bullets and tear gas last December in the east of Saudi Arabia, hundreds of blogs and forums have flourished on the Web to carry out jihad (holy war) against Israel and the "puppet" Arab regimes.

"We are all for Gaza", reads a banner on the blog as the picture of a flag bearing the star of David burning in the middle of Gaza under a deluge of white phosphorus bombs.

The blog, of high technical quality, offers dozens of video clips, mainly taken from Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite television, showing shredded bodies of children, buildings in ruins and burning and street demonstrations from Istanbul to Sao Paolo.

Another sister blog, offers similar sequences, but taken from Al-Jazeera English, the twin sister of the Arabic satellite channel, the star of "Gaza under fire," the tragic drama continuously broadcast since December 27.

Attacks against civilians denounced in thirteen languages

The blog offers better: A selection of photos of an unbearable horror of children and babies, women with bloody or charred bodies, mutilated corpses unearthed from rubble and civilians in tears and blood.

All these pictures, presented with a background of funeral music, are accompanied by captions and comments ... in thirteen languages, including Russian and Chinese.

On Saturday, the 22nd day of the Israeli offensive "Cast Lead, the number of visits reached 421,000.

Resistance in all directions, regardless of the slogan!

On other blogs, we read calls to "collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to denounce the Holocaust in Gaza and the silence of puppet Arab governments.

Another blogger proposes to "collect billion signatures to tell the Americans: 'No to the construction of a bar in the form of the Kaaba,'" the cubic building in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) revered by Muslims and to which they turn for their prayers.

Other bloggers allowed themselves to "declare a day of mourning" after a particularly hellish night in Gaza. All the blogs soon added on their banner a black band crossed by the slogan "We are all in Gaza."

"Gaza Talk, a blog in English, which is defined as" a way of resistance to the new crimes of Israeli occupiers in Gaza", calls on people to "contribute to jihad by sending articles and photos reflecting Israeli massacres."

The blog, which contains many articles, videos, photos, posters and caricatures, offers its users a dozen tips to create blogs on the "holocaust of Palestinians in Gaza."

"We are supporters of ... Electronic Intifada!"

"We are the promoters of the Electronic Intifada. Our supporters are no less numerous than the demonstrators on the streets. We put our expertise to the resistance, to denounce the war against Gaza and the Arab silence ... without red lines to prevent us from expressing our anger," said a Saudi on YouTube.

"Millions of protesters meet virtually on the Web ... and leave their mark on the ground," added the internet surfer.

In the 1990s, Saudi authorities have had more than seven years of reflection before starting to generalize, but under surveillance, access to the Web which was only allowed to governmental and academic institutions from 1992 to 98.

Today, the kingdom - with a population of 28.14 million, including 5.57 million expatriates - is under the influence of Internet fever. With over 6.2 million users in 2007, Saudi Arabia has got the 37th largest number of Internet users in the world, according to statistics compiled on December 18, 2008 by the CIA.

"By heavily showing their anger on the Web, Saudis prove they are the most faithful (Muslims) to the Palestinian cause," wrote a Saudi blogger.

"So we avoid the demagogy of rowdy street demonstrations," he added.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the highest religious authority in the country, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, had said that street demonstrations, which are strictly banned in the kingdom, "are unnecessary and meaningless."

The mufti had instead recommended donating money and sending aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

Translated by Dr. Saad Guerraoui, Senior Editor at Middle East Online


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